Geldof's Ten Alps snaps up another documentary maker

Bob Geldof's television production group Ten Alps consolidated its position as one of the UK's foremost makers of factual programming by announcing the acquisition yesterday of Hart Davies, an independent producer with a strong track record in making observational documentaries.

For the first time, Geldof held a City presentation yesterday to a group of seven fund managers at Collins Stewart's offices yesterday. He even took along his 92-year-old father, who is also called Bob, with whom he was spending the day.

The former Boomtown Rats singer, who dressed smartly for the occasion and kept his language uncharacteristically clean, waxed lyrical about his latest acquisition and the company's future.

David Hart and Guy Davies, who are executive producers of Hart Davies, will receive £1.05m for the production company which has made television programmes including The Trust, a fly-on-the-wall documentary for Channel 4 on the National Health Service, and Mersey Blues, a BBC2 series about police officers on Merseyside.

Ten Alps, which has acquired a steady stream of independent producers who are renowned for making high-quality documentaries over the past four years, is poised to step up a level in the size of company it is targeting.

The group, which Geldof co-founded in 1999 and of which he is still a non-executive director, also plans to open its first US office in Washington DC this year.

It has hired Collins Stewart to boost its image in the City as one of the top providers of television content in an era when broadband has opened up multiple new outlets for programme makers and content is king.

Ten Alps' chief executive Alex Connock said: "Over the last few years we have acquired very high-end factual companies. One has to set out one's stall in a complicated world and we take the Ronseal approach - it does what it says on the tin. Hart Davies is very good at actuality-based observational documentary. It is an old-style acquisition. Over the next few years we may well want to scale up the type of acquisitions we're working on."

In 2002, Ten Alps acquired Brook Lapping, a producer of political documentaries, for £2.35m. On the back of its film about the September 11 attacks, called The Flight That Fought Back, which was the highest rated show on the Discovery US channel for five years, Brook Lapping has been commissioned to make the definitive programme about Hurricane Katrina.

Ten Alps acquired the independent factual producers 3BM and Blakeway Productions in 2004.

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